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Old 12-01-2001, 09:14 PM   #1
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Notes on Movies: High and Low

Notes On Movies: This is quick pace typing without thinking really, I am typing as I
would be speaking and showing emotion as I would be speaking, a series of essays not
really meant to be structured the best, put this more near my own confessionals,
confessionals about my biggest thrill and love outside of any human being, movies. All ofthese will basically take me only minutes to write about, all I require to know before I write these is the subject and then I am off and let me show you the first of what I hope to be many in this series, talking Akira Kurosawa’s masterpiece High and Low.

I remember when I first watched Akira Kurosawa’s High and Low (1963) and when I firstwatched I thought it was the greatest crime movie ever and I’ve seen the best before that. I was never so affected and moved by any of the previous crime movies really but I couldn’t help but realize how this movie (unlike all the other movies) brought me into a world of its own, it knew what it wanted to shoot and how to shoot it. It set the tone to affect the viewer and paced itself accordingly too. The first hour of the movie basically takes place in the home of a wealthy man as him and the police speak to the kidnapper over the phone about the ransom of the child of the limo driver to the wealthy man when the kidnapper originally wanted to kidnap the son of the wealthy man but mixed the two children up. This provided with a good beginning idea that drew our interest, the kidnapper kidnaps a child not related to the man at all he is trying to get money out of so
it thus doesn’t become extortion. But it goes even deeper here, the weathly man is
conflicted about spending a great deal sum of money on his limo driver’s son when he
actually morgaged everything he owned so he could buy enough stock of the company he
worked for to take full control of it. The wealthy man has all the money to buy the stocks, all he has to do is buy it but then this comes along and if he pays he loses getting the company under his control and if he doesn’t pay the public looks at him a murderer and all his credibility is done for. And the wealthy man is very much wanting to take control of the company because he reveals that secretly for years has been raising money to do so. This intrigues the viewer very much and sets the stage as you could say for basically
suspence and drama as to each move is made and the movie basically is completely about
how first the criminal out smarts the police and then how the police come back to out
smart the criminal. Most movies now days would have quickened the pace of the movie
and added action. This movie does neither, it moves slower but slower in a way it makes
you involved in the story so much so that you cannot stop watching and you need to know
what happens and if the worst case scenario happens in the movie you will be heart
broken. These basically are the best movies, they get under your skin and make you care.
They have a story line smart enough to make you care and they never go for easy pay offs
because they realize what type of movie they are making and its intention. High and Low
is filled with some of the most ingenious plot twists that make you glad to have been
watching the movie. On my first viewing of the movie I thought the length of it after I
finished watching was around maybe 2 hours, when I watched it later with someone else
and that person asked how much longer one time I realized the movie actually went on for around 3 hours. I was amazed! I never realized it was so long, i was so caught up in the story line of the movie that I lost all track of time and my focus was only on the story. When I first watched the I identified it as one of the best experiences in watching movies that I have ever experienced and realizing the real time length of it only intensified that
feeling. I then realized that the best movies played like novels, devloping its own world separate of our own and setting a tone and pace and being smart enough with the plot and characters to make you care about because the best novels you can read for hours at a time and not care about that lost time, I didn’t care I used up 3 hours for this one movie, I only realized that what American film critic Roger Ebert said was very much true: “Good movies can never be too long, Bad movies can never be too short.”Another great and wonderful pleasure of the movie is that it remained, for all the 3 hours that it was, just within the structure of being a crime movie and never did it move outside of the story line
of seeing the kidnapper out smart the police and then the police trying to capture the
kidnapper. With its length it gave us a very wide scope on the crime and its investigation
and in the process of showing the reasons for the crime it gave us a portrait of a place and time. It showed how far the distance were between the wealthy and the poor in Japan in the 1950s to 60s because the movie was an investigation into all possible reasons for the crimes and then what the real reasons were. We got a look into how the wealthy viewed the poor and how important power was to them. We got a look into how the police themselves, middle class, people felt about the wealthy. We got a feel to how the poor felt about the wealthy and we even got a portrait to how the drug addicts were treated and looked upon. All of this and the movie never moved outside of its story once! To tell this
story required that! Simply amazing in my mind how a movie about one subject can be
about endless things and have endless meanings, not just meanings on the surface about catching a bad guy. This was really just a movie I wanted to show everyone and have them feel the same pleasure for that I did, I wish that video stores would carry more Akira Kurosawa films but they don’t. His status as a Japanese director goes against bringing him into the American mainstream even though he along with Alfred Hitchcock may hold the most classic movies made by any director on the face of the earth! Sometimes people need to let out steam, my vehicle for letting out steam is talking about movies, here I end part
one of my notes on movies, more to follow.


[This message has been edited by rougerum (edited 12-01-2001).]

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Old 12-01-2001, 09:26 PM   #2
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Any one know how get what I said to normal instead of the mess it looks like now?


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Old 12-01-2001, 11:09 PM   #3
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That's ok, it has that Joycian feel to it.
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Old 12-02-2001, 09:40 AM   #4
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hmmm.......I guess so. Now for the rest of the responces to be about what was actually said.

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